Michigan schools wondering how new CDC guidelines would affect them got their answer this week when the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an update to its K-12 school quarantine and isolation guidelines.
The changes reflect recent updates made by the CDC that modifies or shortens the quarantine and isolation periods to as short as five days in some circumstances.
Changes include language on isolation guidance that allow students, teachers and staff to return to school sooner after infection, under certain circumstances. Quarantine guidance is also updated allowing students, as well as staff and teachers, to return to school sooner after a school-based exposure.
“When layered prevention strategies such as vaccination, masking, distancing, testing, isolation and quarantine are applied consistently, school-associated transmission of COVID-19 is significantly reduced. MDHHS continues to recommend universal masking in K-12 settings. This guidance will help K-12 schools maintain in-person learning by outlining mitigation strategies when students, teachers and staff are exposed to a COVID-19 case in a school setting,” according to the press release.
“We always advocate for preventative measures that keep our children safe,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Children of school age – ages 5 and up – are now eligible to get vaccinated, and children ages 12 and up are eligible to get boosted. In addition to masking and testing, we feel confident that schools can remain as safe as possible for our children.
Overview of COVID-19 Isolation Guidance for K-12 Schools
- Students, teachers & staff who test positive for COVID-19 and/or display COVID-19 symptoms should isolate regardless of vaccination status:
- If positive with no symptoms, monitor for symptoms from day of exposure through day 10 of isolation; and
- Isolate at home for 5 days (day “0” is day symptoms begin or day test was taken for students, teachers & staff who do not have symptoms); and
- If symptoms have improved or you continue to have no symptoms, return to school, while wearing a well-fitted mask, for days 6 -10; or
- Stay home for 10 days if unwilling/unable to wear a mask.
Overview of COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance for K-12 Schools
- Close contacts of a COVID-19 case do not need to quarantine at home if they:
- Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days; and/or
- Are up to date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccines for which they are eligible
These contacts should still monitor their symptoms and “Mask to Stay” for 10 days from the date of last exposure.
- Close contacts of a COVID-19 case who do not meet the criteria above need to quarantine or may test to stay and/or mask to stay. Exposed individuals may:
- Home quarantine for days 1-5, if feasible test on day 5, AND “Mask to Stay” for days 6-10; or
- “Test to Stay” for days 1-6 AND “Mask to Stay” for days 1-10; or
- Home quarantine for days 1-10 if unable/unwilling to mask